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Zurich Saturday Notebook

Sam Smith’s notebook on the eve of the first ever Zurich E-Prix…

Photo: Audi

***The 30-minute shakedown session took place on Saturday afternoon as the Zurich track and its infrastructure was tested for the first time. The session, which sees cars limited to a maximum of 110 kW, saw few incidents with only Luca Filippi suffering an on-track technical issue on one of his NextEV NIO Sport 003 cars.

***Some of the tramlines on the 1.53-mile circuit have been temporarily filled ahead of Sunday’s race but some of the lines at the Turn 7 to Turn 9 chicane have been left unfilled. The track features several different surfaces ranging from course asphalt to new concrete.

***Teams have been notified that they are now able to use umbrellas over their tires in parc ferme between qualifying and the Super Pole session. This applies only to the five drivers participating in Super Pole. A bulletin confirmed that “umbrellas may remain over the tires until the respective car is permitted to enter the fast lane.”

***Teams have had to adapt a new software mode for the pit limiter this weekend as the cobbled pit lane has a 30 km/h limit. “It is two different software settings now, so one for Full Course Yellow and one for the pit lane whereas before we just had the one of course. It’s a reasonable job to re-code and re-set a new one with a PID [proportional–integral–derivative controller],” Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Technical Manager Phil Charles told e-racing365.

***Jaguar is making good progress with its brake-by-wire system on its Gen 2 car after Mitch Evans conducted the latest test which took place at Calafat last week. “It is still early days but we are pleased so far with the testing program,” Team Principal James Barclay told e-racing365. “There is still a lot to do but the drivers are loving the car as they discover more about its capabilities.”

***The wooden pit structure which is a major focal point at this weekend’s Zurich E-Prix is understood by e-racing365 to be under consideration for usage at next season’s European Formula E races.

***Sebastien Buemi thinks that the Zurich track will offer a unique opportunity on setup for the cars. “We have two very long straights where we are going to reach the top speeds possible for Formula E cars and then there is a very slow second sector,” said the Season Two champion. “So you can think about not running maximum downforce in qualifying perhaps. At every circuit this is not a question but here it becomes a question [to do this].

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Team Principal Allan McNish described the last E-Prix at Berlin where Audi scored a dominant 1-2 result as “one of the best weekends of my career, certainly as a Team Principal anyway, it was really enjoyable.”

***Dragon Technical Director Nicholas Maduit has targeted a podium position as one of the remaining objectives after a largely disappointing season for the American team. The team has suffered from varying issues throughout the season including a fundamental problem with its gearing and as evidenced by d’Ambrosio’s race in Berlin some energy management problems.

***Techeetah development driver Zhou Guanyu is not expected to get his first taste of a Formula E car until later this year according to the team’s Managing Director Ivan Yim. “His primary focus is on F3 at the moment as it is an important third season there for him. He will continue to do some sim sessions for us but at the moment we cannot say when he will track test,” Yim told e-racing365.

***Yim also stated that the team had not discussed activating any team orders to maximize its aim of taking both the drivers’ and teams’ titles this season. “This has not been planned for no,” said Yim. “But all we can say is that our absolute objective is to win both titles. Andre [Lotterer] has been a superb team player already this season and all we expect is that they get as many points as is humanly possible.”

***Emerson Fittipaldi will demonstrate a Formula E car at Zurich on Sunday. The 1972 and 1974 Formula 1 World Champion told e-racing365 he has long been curious about sampling one of the all-electric cars. “I want to see how they drive, I am fascinated by the technology. Lucas [di Grassi] and Felipe [Massa] are the pros of electric racing now and I am the gentleman driver,” he joked.

***Di Grassi expressed his disappointment in not being able to perform in his home country of Brazil after plans for an E-Prix in Sao Paulo faltered. “It is disappointing as we have Felipe now in the championship next season and there is a good fan base in South America but the political and economic situation in Brazil is tricky at present.”

***Although not officially a home race, Nick Heidfeld lives just 20 minutes from Zurich close to the town of Ottwil. A long-time resident of Switzerland, Heidfeld described the city as “one of the most beautiful in the world” and said “it makes it all the more special that we are here as there has not been any circuit racing here for so long.”

***Antonio Giovinazzi’s representative Enrico Zanarini was in the Zurich paddock holding meetings with teams about potential future opportunities for his client. The Ferrari F1 tester ran with the DS Virgin Racing team at the Marrakesh rookie test last January. Zanarini also manages Formula 2 racer Antonio Fuoco.

***E-racing365 understands that current Ginetta LMP1 driver Oliver Rowland is actively pursuing a seat in Formula E for season five. The British driver made a one-off appearance for Mahindra at Punta del Este in 2015 when he subbed for the then injured Nick Heidfeld.

***James Rossiter is visiting the Formula E paddock this weekend as a guest of the Techeetah team. The Japan-based British driver tested for the team at the official rookie test in Marrakesh earlier this year and is still known to be looking for a potential future ride in the series.

***Former Arrows and Brabham F1 racer Marc Surer is working for Swiss TV at the event this weekend. F2 racer Louis Deletraz was also in attendance with his former racer father Jean-Denis Deletraz.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Esteban García

    June 9, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Very good information, as always, hope for the very first e-prix at Zürich on my birthday

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